Quebec bottled water company Eska has found out the hard way that racist advertising doesn’t sell. After one week of a small but scrappy boycott campaign, the company has decided to pull “Eska Warrior” adverts from print and television. The ads, like the one above, depict non-aboriginals dressed up in a melange of Hollywood Indian garb, complete with shooting arrows and eagle cries. As cynical as Avatar’s deployment of indigenous culture to sell McDonald’s merch, Eska is a company that takes water from First Nations lands in colonized Canada, bottles it, then uses pejorative portrayals of the very culture under attack to sell it back to the inhabitants. Brash, cold capitalism at work indeed. But some decided to fight back, including citizen journalist and Mohawk from Kanehsatake, Clifton Nicholas, who discusses his response to the ads in the video below:
Kudos to Nicholas and all the others who have supported this boycott campaign – a fight that isn’t ending simply because Eska has pulled racist adverts. No, this boycott looks like it will go the long haul. To find out more, visit the Facebook page.